MBTA and Masabi team up for first smartphone rail ticketing system in the US, launching in Boston this fall

In Boston this fall, you won't need to keep up with your train ticket anymore -- as long as you don't leave your smartphone at home. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Masabi have joined forces to bring a rail ticketing to handheld devices via iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps. Headquartered in London, Masabi has launched similar tech for transit companies in the UK, eliminating ticket lines for many smartphone-wielding passengers. Software will allow riders to purchase tickets and passes that are validated with a barcode scan by conductors equipped with mobile devices of their own. MBTA is looking to cut costs and provide added convenience with the new system instead of adding more ticketing kiosks to its stations. The aforementioned apps will be developed alongside focus groups and a small pilot group this summer with a full rollout to all MBTA customers expected to happen this fall. Looking for a bit more info? Hit the coverage and source links below to read on.

[Image credit: Masabi on Flickr]


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MBTA and Masabi to Launch First Smartphone Rail Ticketing System in the U.S.

Apps will allow Commuter Rail customers to purchase and display tickets on iPhone, Android and Blackberry

BOSTON, MA – 23rd April 2012 – Today, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Masabi US Ltd, the transit mobile ticketing pioneer, jointly announce that they will be bringing mobile ticketing to MBTA commuter rail riders this fall. With applications for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, customers will be able to seamlessly purchase commuter rail tickets and passes. Once tickets are purchased, customers will be able to use and display directly via their phone screen.

"MassDOT and the MBTA are striving to bring our customers convenience without added costs. We are delivering just that with this project and this technology," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

"With this new and innovative approach, we are putting a ticket machine right in the palms of our customers' hands," said Acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis.

Less than half of MBTA's 140 Commuter Rail stations have fare vending machines, forcing many customers to pay for tickets on board. But that will soon change as riders will be able to purchase tickets via credit or debit cards directly from their phones. Monthly pass holders will be able to seamlessly link a plastic CharlieCard to their pass allowing them "tap-in" instead of using magnetic tickets for the MBTA subway and bus systems.

The new solution will help the MBTA reduce costs by eliminating the need for additional vending machines and lowering cash handling costs. To help combat fare evasion, all mobile tickets will have barcodes allowing for validation. Throughout the pilot program, smart phone-equipped train conductors will be checking tickets to ensure their validity. Masabi will provide a comprehensive mTicketing solution including; consumer-facing applications, backend servers, payment integration and scanning/validation software for train conductors.

"By placing a personalized ticket machine in the pocket of commuters, they can now buy tickets wherever they are, faster than ever before," said Giacomo Biggiero, Director of Masabi US Ltd. "MBTA will also see significant benefits in terms of reducing costly cash handling charges and the cost of additional ticket machines. We are delighted to be working with them to launch our first mTicketing system in the U.S."

In the coming months, the MBTA will be inviting customers to participate in designing the new applications via focus groups and a small group pilot which will roll out in late summer. The full deployment to all MBTA customers is expected this fall.

All transactions are secured using the award-winning encryptME security system that has been validated to U.S. Government standards.

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MBTA and Masabi team up for first smartphone rail ticketing system in the US, launching in Boston this fall